m&a of blogs

•17/2/08 • Leave a Comment

after a engrossing chat about anime, two otakus decided to try setting up a joint blog.

nanjakorya + not-so-otaku = tasukete!

will be importing my posts over, so sumimasen if you happen to see my review twice :D

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school days review

•9/2/08 • Leave a Comment

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stats

# eps: 12 eps, jul 2007 – sep 2007
anidb rating (at time of writing): 6.54 (911 votes)
my rating: 8.00

thoughts

it’s interesting to note that viewer opinion on this anime is pretty divided, ranging from those outright hating it (like this review) to those that liked it (check this out, in my opinion a very well-written review). first of all i have to shamefully admit that i wouldn’t have watched this show initially, as it didn’t have the score of more than 7.00 on anidb – i use anidb as a preliminary filter of what i should spend my time watching and what i shouldn’t – if not for the controversy generated on the blogosphere by the anime. my interests were particularly piqued when i knew it was a harem-type anime that had a bloody ending to top it off. how often do you hear these two things occuring in the same show?

the anime started off pretty innocuously – guy notices girl taking the same train as he does everyday, guy puts said girl as handphone wallpaper, girl that sits besides guy in class notices the wallpaper and offers him her help in getting said girl. by the end of the first episode, the love traingle between makoto, kotonoha and sekai was well established, which i thought was pretty well done – story-wise and art-wise.

the next few episodes of the anime portrayed sekai’s struggle with her feelings for makoto, but her “practice sessions” with makoto ended up with both of them *cough* exploring uncharted territories. makoto realised that he felt more comfortable being with sekai than kotonoha, which culminated in an email that declared his feelings for makoto.

that’s when things started to get weird in my opinion. i do recognise the fact that this anime is an adaptation from an eroge, and as most eroges go the main protagonists literally gets swamped with girls. however i can’t comprehend the fact that makoto manages to delude kotonoha about his trysts with sekai for quite some time, and when kotonoha finds out about it, she is still adamant that she’s makoto’s girlfriend but does nothing about it! well, some might argue that love is blind, and applaud kotonoha for being so forgiving with makoto – but as this anime tries to reflect events in real life, i can’t stomach the fact that some girl can be so forgiving when her boyfriend sleeps with nearly half of the school population. i shudder with the thought that if makoto was bisexual, the other half of the school will be involved in his voracious appetite as well…

besides the three main characters, i didn’t think that the cast of side characters were developed well. the way some girls of the anime was introduced make it seem that the introductions serves as a justification on why they wanted to sleep with makoto. i did feel sad when setsuna, a girl i thought was above this whole mess, slept with makoto to make him promise to not be unfaithful to sekai, who was her best friend. that’s really not helping it, even if you’re going to disappear to france and have nothing to do with both of them in the future!

there were a few plot points that made absolutely no sense to the storyline as well. how the hell did taisuke manage to catch kotonoha when she was emotionally vulnerable, and why did she let herself being exploited by him!? why was she so nonchalant the next day when she told him she had no feelings whatsoever for him, and told him to forget what happened the previous day? however i’m not denying the possibility that this part of the story resonates well with dirty fantasies of seinens =P

the side characters seemed to vanish into thin air once they knew sekai was pregnant. it might be that there wasn’t enough airtime in those 12 episodes for a proper conclusion for everyone, but that doesn’t mean loose ends need not be tied well..

the bloody climax of the anime wasn’t as gory as i thought – maybe that’s because i’m baptized by higurashi? it was only until one of the very last scenes that sent a chill down my spine.

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i know kotonoha’s devoted to makoto, but cradling his decapitated head.. doesn’t really fit the image of a kawaii and yasashi kotonoha. arghhhhh.

despite its faults, i liked the fact that the art was crisp (maybe the encodes were just very well done), the way different songs were interpolated into the anime – too often the OP/ED of the anime is overused for scenes in the anime itself, and – i hate to admit this – the fanservice was quite well done, and let me reiterate (for the sake of my conscience as well =P) it doesn’t ever cross the hentai boundary.

very watchable indeed, but don’t expect a masterfully-narrated story. however this anime drives home the point that if one wants to cheat, at least be discreet about it, and don’t involve more people than one’s fingers can count. beyond that, one’s days are numbered – really, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned =D

kareshi kanojo no jijou review

•3/2/08 • Leave a Comment

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also known as: karekano, his and her circumstances
# eps: 26 eps, oct 1998 – mar 1999
anidb rating (at time of writing): 8.16 (2071 votes)
my rating: 8.00

thoughts

just finished watching karekano – i know, some others have finished watching this about 10 years ago. i have been wanting to watch this since reading a few glowing reviews on it, as people commented on how the tensai director anno hideaki managed to produce a quality anime despite under severe budget constraints.. actually, i didn’t really realise he had budget constraints, but it became more and more apparent as the series progressed.

i’ll start off with a brief review of the story, which i felt started off very strong. yukino miyazawa was respected and held in high regard when she was in her middle school due to her excellence in virtually everything – sports, studies, being friendly to others..

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.. and she revelled in the attention lavished on her.

however, in her first year at a local high school, she finally met her match – souichiro arima, who was an equally outstanding student from another middle school. she lost her long-held pole position to him in the first assesed test of the year, which made her even more determined to destroy arima.

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.. which she managed to do in the second test of the year! i like this screencap – the numbers on other students’ faces denote their respective rank in the test. notice that everyone else’s faces, besides arima’s, are blanked out – reflecting what yukino felt about them. i burst out laughing at this scene.

however, things took an unexpected turn..

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arima unexpectedly saw the true face of yukino when he brought his brahms cd to her house. after many other incidents in school, he accepted her for who she is, as he himself hides his emotions from others. the relationship between arima and yukino deepened after they realised how much they shared in common, and both vowed to shed their masks and show their true selves.

within the first few episodes, the pair managed to come to terms with their feelings for each other – this part of the anime was very nicely done and i applaud the mangaka for the realistic potrayal of it. however, as the anime was produced even before the manga was finished (the manga ended its 11 year run in 2005), the story lacked proper continuation between the arcs. i was left thinking “what can they do with the next 10+ eps?”

don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that all of the arcs in the anime was pointless in furthering the story between arima and yukino. the anime introduced a number of other side characters, for instance the first bunch of close friends yukino ever had (shibahime tsubasa, sakura tsubaki, izawa maho etc) as well as developing existing ones – the miyazawa family for instance.

some of the funny scenes include:

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yukino getting back at shibahime for crossing the line – shibahime had a personal vendetta against yukino as shibahime used to have a close relationship with arima.

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shibahime’s imagination running wild when she first met her stepbrother. i felt kinda sad that her character de-volved into a mindless, trying-to-act-cute character in the later parts of the anime.. it’s sad that she lost the depth her character had in the earlier parts of the anime.

the main theme of the anime is about relationships, which is not just restricted to the arima-yukino one. there was one particular scene that managed to move me to tears – the story on how yukino’s parents got emotionally attached.

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in this scene, hiroyuki’s grandfather, the only family he has ever had, has just passed away. miyako offered to stay by his side, but hiroyuki told her to go back home. later, when he went out of his house, he saw miyako squatting at the front door in the cold, to be there by his side when he needed her. it might sound cheesy, but it nonetheless was very touching when i watched it.

however, there were some bits of the anime that made me cringe.

i understand that the anime is a manga adaptation, and that was pretty obvious from the scenes used in the show:

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i don’t mind drawings from the manga if it’s tastefully inserted between animated scenes, but when it makes up ENTIRE episodes (like eps 19 and 26), that’s really pushing it.. had such a hard time getting through those episodes. the cringing really happens when the adapted scenes are outright LAME..

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.. yucks. combining real life stills and manga cutouts IS NOT VISUALLY APPEALING.

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is this meant to be funny?! so lame..

it’s something that starts off with a bang, but ends with a whimper. reminds me of evangelion’s last 2 eps. as a friend of mine remarked – that’s just gainax for you.

ps: on a side note, i found that yukino in one scene looked like ryuugu rena from higurashi ni naku koro ni (and ni kai).

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i can faintly hear rena’s “omochi kaeri~~!” from yukino’s lips! =)

love hina review

•30/1/08 • Leave a Comment

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stats

# eps: 24 eps, apr 2000 – sep 2000
producer: akamatsu ken
anidb rating (at time of writing): 7.83 (5218 votes)
my rating: 8.00

thoughts

this post comes in second after evangelion as this was the second anime i watched – albeit about a year after i first watched evangelion. if i were to write this after i first completed the anime (at the impressionable age of 15), this anime would have rated much higher, for pretty obvious reasons below =D

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naru’s gravity-defying hair still fills me with wonder even today – i’ve narrowed down the possibilities to either brylcreem or uhu glue. her love-hate relationship with keitaro is the main source of amusement in the anime, for reasons that i couldn’t describe properly when i first watched it. on hindsight, yes, i was hopelessly enthralled with her tsundere-ness.

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shinobu-chan is so moeeeeee =) couldn’t really understand her devotion to keitaro though. well, keitaro was very kind to her when she didn’t fit into her school and when she was coping with the possibility of moving away from the town, but for goodness sakes, give up – it’s so painfully obvious that keitaro digs someone else =P

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it’s really hard to find screencaps showing kitsune’s eyes open. as for why she’s part of the reason i could marathon love hina when i first watched it, i think the answer’s pretty obvious =)

i confess i managed to marathon this series not just once, but twice (!) in the span of a few days – i blame my raging hormones and the lack of other alternative anime to distract me. i did feel a sense of loss when the series ended, as there were so many unanswered questions – what happens to keitaro and naru? matoko’s future? haruka – with the amount of cigarettes she was smoking, would she have contracted lung cancer if the story dragged on slightly longer? (love hina again didn’t exist then)

as luck would have it, last year, i got to know someone in university had a copy of love hina (the files were EXACTLY those that i watched ages ago). although i had the intentions of marathoning it yet again, i discovered that i couldn’t progress beyond the 4th episode. the jokes, which i appreciated just a few years ago, had me whimpering in pained chuckles occasionally. ugh, some of the jokes were just so lame. as for fanservice.. well, it didn’t interest me as much as it did last time. i gave up watching the remaining episodes, content with knowing why i liked the anime so much last time.

if you haven’t watched it, i do recommend it, especially when you’re 15, single, stuck in an all-boys school without an outlet for your.. biological tendencies. despite not enjoying it as much anymore, i still do think it’s one of the better harem animes out there.

ps being a good biologist here, citing my sources – screencaps copied referenced from meansauce and anime galleries dot net.

neon genesis evangelion review

•27/1/08 • Leave a Comment

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stats

also known as: shinseiki evangelion
# eps: 26 eps, oct 1995 – mar 1996
producer: gainax
anidb rating (at time of writing): 8.19 (6911 votes)
my rating: 10.00

thoughts

let me assure you, i am a huge fan of this anime – which kinda explains why i am blogging this series now, even though i watched so many years ago. so if you hate evangelion, can’t comprehend why people ever rate them 10/10, please navigate away now =P

i would consider evangelion as the first proper anime i watched. true, i’ve watched stuff like doraemon on national tv when i was in primary school, but what i watched in my senior’s room back in the year of 2000 shocked me beyond belief. he managed to borrow a cd boxset of evangelion (i still remember one cd could only store 2 eps) from his friend, and his room immediately became the most popular room on our floor =)

i remember the anime sessions we had – after we had lunch, we would huddle on the cramped bed of his, and let our jaws drop while watching the anime. the anime was strong on all fronts: characters, storyline, complexity, obscure references – perfection indeed (well, barring eps 25 and 26. we’ll get to that later).

i’ll start off with a brief review – why did the world need evas in 2015?

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cos conventional weapons didn’t work against a malicious threat called “angels” (ironic indeed). for a lack of better word, OWNED.

evas needed post-second impact kids as pilots, hence some pre-pubescent kids were identified by the ever mysterious “marduk report” as suitable pilots. oh well, since that resulted in some of the most fascinating 14-year olds being chosen, i’d say they made pretty good choices =)

while dealing with the attack of numerous angels, the characters in the story blossomed into life:

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the ever mysterious rei! took me ages to find a screencap that showed her smiling.

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shinji, in berserk-mode – not uncommon throughout the anime series =)

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the ever headstrong asuka.

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misato (and pet penguin pen-pen), the major source of comic relief in the show.

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ritsuko and kaji (with misato in the foreground). the relationships between these three characters are profound – one is kept guessing whether these characters truly like each other or do so in order to use them.

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the ever-scheming gendou. i kinda pitied the way he met his end in “the end of evangelion” though.

the strong cast of characters only made sense with a coherently-told storyline, and this was well done up to episode 24. others may argue, saying that well, on the n-th watching of episodes 25 and 26, they suddenly had an epiphany of sorts – when you get the reason behind these two episodes, it’s way more meaningful than the action-packed alternate ending featured in “the end of evangelion”. in order to save myself from getting my brain tortured, i prefer to believe the story (or is it truth?) that gainax ran out of funding in the later parts of the season, hence cut costs by using less sophisticated animation.

while i recognize the importance of the characters’ self-reflection in some parts of the story – for instance the bit where shinji realised the reason behind his magnifient synchro rate with eva 01, too much of it makes me feel like going:

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(that’s “die”, for those who can’t read kanji)

equally infamous are those scenes which feature shinji on swings, or on trains:

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excess IS BAD. it makes me wonder how much depth the story actually has – i used to think that the mental self-monologues was an utter waste of time, but after 3 rewatches, hey, some bits did make more sense..

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i love this enigmatic line from rei. fyi it’s added on by shinji’s “i wonder if human are a special creature because of that” two lines later. classic.

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to be fair to asuka, i’ll feature one of her classic lines – “あんた ばか!?” aka “are you stupid!?”

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a one-liner from gendou that, i thought, fits perfectly with his pessimistic world-view.

in addition to that, the animation quality was superb. hey, remember, this anime was made in the 1990s. some anime made a couple of years after evangelion made me cringe with their poorly-done cgi. yes, vandread, i’m talking about you.

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i liked the reflection of the positron beam speeding towards ramiel, the octahedral angel.

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doesn’t really mean anything, but this was shown in a split-second frame. the amazing details of the console screen is just.. mad. disk drive sizes were in TBs, btw, which i think might actually be true in a few years’ time. more space to store my anime woohoo! =D

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the ideas that evangelion comes out never fails to astound me. the counter at the bottom (which starts off at 62:00) shows the number of seconds that the evas’ residual power would hold out, and the timer zeroes after 62 seconds of animation time. i don’t recall seeing such things ever done in other anime. also, this screencap shows the importance of the mastery of synchronized dance skills – ddr geeks can actually save the world =P

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another split-second still showing the official “reason” behind the second impact. how i wish my jap was good enough for me to read the newspaper article..

while trawling through the 26 eps recently to get screencaps, i still managed to find scenes that made my spine tingle. i knew what was going to happen, but that didn’t prevent me FEELING it.

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eva 01 emerging from leliel, amidst a sea of blood. the howling of eva 01 post-emergence was really creepy, in a heartrending sort of way.

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the brutality that manifests eva 01 upon the use of the entry plug was seriously disturbing. but nothing beats..

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eva 01 ingesting zeruel’s S2 engine. omg, the thought of a mecha actually EATING an organic adversary and incorporating bits into itself.. truly exemplifies the adage “you are what you eat”. =)

to counteract the seriousness, this anime’s littered with loads of light moments as well.

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misato and her fave beer.

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subtle, but nonetheless funny if you could read the katakana – that’s why i only realised it was comical on my third rewatch. timetable of daily chores when shinji first moved into misato’s. シ (shi) is shinji, ミ (mi) is misato.

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eva 01 and 02, post-thrashing of israfel with imba ddr skills. not a very graceful end indeed.

i couldn’t resist the inclusion of some screencaps which i thought was just.. cool.

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cross-shaped explosions! if only such explosions were possible..

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use of scientific terms! while cool, it’s not really that appropriate. polysome camera.. wtf? multiple cameras beaded on a string? sigma unit and pribnow box: are we dealing with bacterial transcription here? haha.

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dirac’s ocean.. am not a physicist so no idea what it is, but nonetheless profound =P

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an idea that will make darwin flip in his grave. gendou says “the end of evolution is self destruction” (indeed, the angel was defeated by promoting its evolution). as a biologist i strongly disapprove of such comments – evolution aims to make the organism more suitable to its surroundings. to speed up the angel’s evolution, if anything, would definitely overwhelm magi, lead to the destruction of nerv, and lead us to a premature, ep 13 ending. so there =)

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the classic “is my cd drive spoilt?” scene. friends claimed to have done these things: alt+enter to check that media player is still running, putting their ears to the cd rom drive to check whether the drive is spinning, increasing volume to assure themselves that the anime is still running, or downright skipping this bit by fast forwarding. this still is 52 seconds long – truly groundbreaking in its own right =P

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all hail the master storyteller, anno hideaki!

ps phew. this is much longer than the bulk of biology essays i churn out.. i promise not to include so many screencaps next time =P

post #1!

•26/1/08 • Leave a Comment

.. actually, i wrote the about page earlier than this, so technically speaking this isn’t the first post heh.

this is a place for me to pen down my thoughts after finishing a whole anime SERIES, so don’t expect too much about details of what goes on in the anime – plenty of other blogs cover that. the rate i finish anime isn’t spectacular, hence the possible low post count / slow posts in the future.

anyway, a warm welcome to those who somehow managed to find your way here! =)